UAS Spring Honors Forum to focus on Filipino and Pacific Islander communities

“Pacific Peoples: Translocal Identities & Cultural Connections” is the theme of the University of Alaska Southeast Spring Honors Symposium, to be held March 5-12 in Juneau.

Featured speakers will include playwright Ralph Peña, author Miriam Khan and author Matt Masuda. Presentations are free and open to the public.

This year’s forum focuses on the experiences of Filipino and Pacific Islander communities in the Pacific, the United States, Alaska, Juneau, and at UAS. Asians constitute the fastest growing immigrant population in North America today, surpassing rates of Hispanic immigration for the first time in 2009. In Alaska, the combined Filipino and Pacific Islander communities constitute the third largest ethnic demographic.

The UAS Honors Reading Seminar and Spring Forum will explore the historical and contemporary experiences of Filipino and Pacific Islander communities. What have those experiences been? What are they now? And what does it mean to each of us, as individuals and socially from our own ethnic and cultural backgrounds, to build a truly inclusive and multicultural community? This is the academic and ethical agenda of the symposium.

Here’s a look at what’s scheduled.

• “Asian Americans On Stage: Are We There Yet?” presentation by Ralph Peña: Wednesday, March 5, 7 p.m., UAS REC Center. Peña, Artistic Director of the Ma-Yi Theater Company in New York, will present a dramatic reading of selected passages from his play “Flipzoids.” (“Flipzoids” was produced in Juneau in 2012 as a collaboration between Generator Theater Company and Filipino Community, Inc.)

• “Illusion and Reality in Tahiti’s Tourist Cocoons” presentation by Miriam Khan: Friday, March 7, 7 p.m., Egan 112 Lecture Hall. Khan is Professor of Anthropology at the University of Washington and the author of “Tahiti Beyond the Postcard: Power, Place, and Everyday Life.”

• “Oceans Connect: Pacific Peoples and Global Histories.” Presentation by Matt Matsuda: Monday, March 10, 7 p.m., Egan 112 Lecture Hall. Matsuda is Professor of History and Dean of the Honors College at Rutgers University, and the author of “Pacific Worlds: A History of Seas, Peoples, and Cultures” (Cambridge University Press, 2012) and “Empire of Love: Histories of France and the Pacific.”

• End of the Symposium Celebration: Wednesday, March 12, 6-8 p.m., Filipino Community Center, 251 S. Franklin St. A Filipino dinner with seminar members and UAS students, and the Filipino Community. Free admission but a ticket is required. Contact the Student Activities Office at UAS, or Filipino Community Inc.

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